I rarely read text messages because it’s usually spam and I mostly engage with my personal contacts on WhatsApp. But, this morning, I received an SMS notification that caught my eye. While the first sentence was effective in grabbing my attention, the rest of the text made me cringe 😬
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ticketpro Dome in Northgate announced it would be closing its doors. ‘The Dome’, as it is commonly known, has been an iconic exhibition, live events, and entertainment venue for 20 years. Following the announcement, multiple news sites have covered the story, with “the dome” trending on Twitter for hours after the news broke. Throughout the week, it has remained a popular topic of discussion and a point of sadness. The closure is yet another reminder of the dire impact of the pandemic on the events, expo, and entertainment industry.
What Triggered Me
I received the below text message from a home cleaning company that decided to leverage the news to promote a discount for their customers.
What they got right
- Being Topical – As a business or brand, one of the things that is encouraged by marketers and advertisers is to stay relevant. When done correctly, referencing topical subjects and linking back to your business in an organic way can be fruitful. For example, Nandos has established itself as a brand that is always on topic. In this instance, the promotion shows that the home cleaning service has been paying attention to what is happening beyond their business. This gives them an opportunity to relate to their customers.
- Being Timely – In our fast-paced world where things are constantly changing, it is imperative that brands react quickly to optimise the impact of messaging that ties back to current topics. The subject of The Dome has been relevant throughout the week, so referencing it makes sense.
What they got wrong
- Reaching – While jumping onto trends and taking advantage of current topics can be an effective tactic for driving your business objectives, if the connection between the subject and your brand is not a natural association, it’s usually best to avoid it. In this instance, the link between what is being offered and the venue, or closing of the venue, is pretty thin. Brands should strive to avoid being perceived as trying too hard to be relevant.
- It’s Opportunistic – The reference to the closure of The Dome to drive a promotion can be seen as taking advantage. Despite positioning the promotion as a means of comfort, a clean home is not genuinely going to help people come to terms with the news, nor the absymal state of this industry. The cleaning company clearly benefits more than the customer (and certainly more than Ticketpro Dome) would. The brand is leveraging bad news and the misfortune of another business, to generate sales, which is in poor taste. This is disingenuous and opportunistic, which could negatively impact people’s perception of the brand. In additional, it also puts the business at reputational risk as well, which could have long-lasting effects.
While not everyone will agree that the text message and promotion cross a line, I believe that this is an example of how not to leverage current topics to be relevant. Fortunately, the promotion doesn’t seem to be running on social media, which has (slightly) lessened the potential for it to blow up online. Still, it’s a reminder for all brands to think very carefully about which trends to leverage and to be wary of the risks involved.
What are your thoughts on the topic? Comment below or tweet me @fantomdan.
References and Additional Reading
- Ticketpro Dome entertainment venue closes doors for last time – IOL
- Tipping point: Events industry insiders weigh in on sale of Ticketpro Dome – fin24
- An ode to The Dome – City Press
- WeBuyCars buys Ticketpro Dome – BusinessTech
- Disgruntled Customer Flies Off the Handle at Local Airline – Daniel Brocklebank